To be honest, the idea of being separated from everyone and everything that I am used to being around and the magnitude of this separation did not occur to me until very recently. Several days ago, my parents invited some of my friends over to our house for a small going away party as a chance for me to say goodbye to my friends. The night was full of laughter, American food, and Italian themed decorations. It was not until I said my first goodbye that this looming idea of separation hit me. Up until that night the idea of moving away for so long to study abroad still seemed almost foreign to me (no pun intended), and part of me never thought the day would actually come. This going away party served as a wake up call. It helped me realize that I would soon be separated from the people in my life and that, as tough as it may be, I must find a way to maintain a healthy separation from those around me and focus on the good that will come from this experience.
Separation was, for me personally, the biggest fear when making the decision to study abroad. I have always found that I am someone who relies on my family and friends a lot and has somewhat of a hard time being away from the people who are most important to me. I experienced this for the first time during my freshman year of college when I first moved into Quinnipiac. At the time, I had a lot of friends that were still in high school and family still at home, so being away was very difficult for me. The past two years, however, have been a learning experience during which I believe I have learned that it is possible to have a healthy separation from those who are closest to me.
“When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” –William Least Heat Moon
The above quote really stood out to me because I believe it to be a great representation of what good can come out of the separation phase and being separated from those back home. It’s as if we are getting a fresh start in which we can branch out and learn about ourselves, and what better place to do so than in a place that is new and foreign to us. I decided to include this quote in my separation letter to my mom. My mom is one of my biggest supporters and, like all mothers, understands me in ways that no one else can. When she read this quote, she understood why I chose it without even having to ask. She said that she believes that studying abroad will be a great experience for me and is fully confident that she and I will have a healthy separation. The day I moved into college at Quinnipiac, my mother said something to me that I will never forget. Instead of crying or being said, she looked at me with a smile on her face and said she really wasn’t sad to see me go because she knew that college was going to be a great experience for me and she knew that I was going to do fine on my own. Now that I am getting ready to go abroad I think about this story all the time. When thinking about the separation that studying abroad entails, I remind myself to try and focus on the good that will come from studying abroad rather than the sadness that comes with leaving everything behind.